Hill v. WilliamsAnnotate this Case
In October 1998, Torrey Hill was tried by a jury upon an indictment that charged Hill with several crimes, including the forcible rape of A. G., who was fourteen years of age at the time of the alleged crimes. Although the indictment did not expressly charge Hill with the statutory rape of A. G., the trial court instructed the jury — at the request of the State, and over Hill’s objection — that it could find Hill guilty of statutory rape as a lesser offense included in the crime of the forcible rape of A. G. The jury found Hill not guilty of forcible rape, but guilty of the statutory rape of A. G., as well as a number of other crimes. Hill appealed, and he argued, among other things, that statutory rape is not included in forcible rape and that the trial court, therefore, erred when it instructed the jury about statutory rape as a lesser included offense. The Court of Appeals affirmed his convictions, reasoning that statutory rape sometimes may be included in forcible rape as a matter of fact, even if it is not always so included as a matter of law. Four years later, in “Stuart v. Georgia,” (734 SE2d 814 (2012)), the Court of Appeals reconsidered and decided that statutory rape was never included in forcible rape, overruling Hill as a precedent along the way. Within a few weeks of the decision in “Stuart,” Hill filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus, and in the habeas proceedings that followed, Hill claimed that his conviction for the statutory rape not only reflected a misapplication of the state statutory law concerning the extent to which one crime is included in another, but also worked a denial of the due process to which he was entitled as a matter of constitutional law. The habeas court denied the petition, and Hill appealed. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed.